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Southern mining municipalities are the most violent in Venezuela – report

The three most violent municipalities in Venezuela are located in the southeastern Bolívar state mining area, a new report by the NGO Venezuelan Violence Observatory (OVV) shows.

According to the document, the three municipalities in the state bordering Brazil registered 202 violent deaths in 2023. In detail, the municipality of El Callao registered 91 deaths, which is equivalent to a rate of 424.7 victims per one hundred thousand inhabitants in 2023. This makes it the most violent municipality in the South American country.

Next to El Callao are the Sifontes municipality, with the city of Tumemero as its main hotspot and a rate of 151 victims per one hundred thousand inhabitants, and the Roscio municipality with the city of Guasipati as its most dangerous place and a rate of 134 violent deaths per one hundred thousand inhabitants.

Many of the gold mining operations in the Bolívar state are unregulated and are threatening the health of several national parks, including Canaima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In May of this year, the Venezuelan government deployed over 5,000 soldiers in the country’s national parks intending to evict criminal groups leading such illegal gold mining and drug trafficking operations.

During this campaign, which was carried out in tandem with the neighbouring Colombian armed forces, thousands of litres of fuel, hundreds of engines, rafts, pipes, processing plants, chemical agents, camping gear and other materials were destroyed. 

But the military presence and actions did not put an immediate end to the activity. In September, a clash between soldiers and armed civilians operating illegal mines ended up with two people dead and six injured, while in early December, 12 people died when an artisanal gold mine near the town of Icabarú, also in the Bolívar state, collapsed. 

Despite these results, the head of the government, Nicolás Maduro, said on December 28 in a televised address together with military personnel, that the armed operations allowed for the “peaceful liberation” of national parks and other protected areas from “predatory criminal mining.”

Overall, the year 2023 saw 6,973 violent deaths in Venezuela, 1,956 of which were victims of homicides committed by criminals, 953 deaths were caused by police actions and 4,064 violent deaths are still under investigation in terms of cause and intention.

Source: MINING.COM – Read More